Archive for April, 2009

Guest Blog…

800px-spring_flowersBoy was I ready for spring.   It seemed to just not want to show up this year.  I saw the robins here weeks ago and one could even see their confusion.  It always feels good to get outside and get started in the yard and garden.  I have sore muscles from the week end and I feel great!

Hi, I am Rick Phillips, Property Manager for Coldwell Banker First Realtors in Walla Walla. I have been with the company since 1991, working as a licensed Property Manager since 1996. I have been blessed to work for such an outstanding company and such great people. The education and experience I have received here has shaped my life in most positive ways and continue to influence me.

My first job for Coldwell Banker First Realtors was as an on-site manager The Birchway Apartments. Truth be told, my wife Nikki did most all the work; showing units, renting out apartments and the administration end.  I mowed the yard, cleaned and painted units and growled at the partiers when appropriate.  I learned a lot from her during this time as well as from Alan Raguso who was the sole Property Manager back in those days.  Today, though unofficial, I consider Alan my partner.  Alan’s ability to keep it real, make investments work and navigate through trends and economic issues for his investors is absolutely fascinating to me.  I continue to strive to learn from him.

I enjoy music, old cars, the outdoors and people which makes Walla home-105Walla a perfect place to live.  I remember saying several years ago that soon there would be live music all over the down town any given night of the week.  Now there is all of that and more.  There is always something going on in the downtown during the spring and summer.   It’s fantastic.  Car shows, wine tasting, Farmer’s Markets, the list goes on and on. Check it out!  There are so many good people here working to make this community what it is and I just want to say thanks!

Some folks that probably don’t get the thanks and recognition they deserve are the officers and staff at the Walla Walla Police Department.  Their Crime Free Rental Housing Program offering support and partnership with local landlords is an integral part of the community environment we enjoy.  As a property manager in Walla Walla who manages hundreds of rental and storage units, I can tell you first hand this program works .

We have rented up a record number of units for the 1st quarter.  There is a lot of movement due to various market conditions.  We have seen rent prices soften some as we see some folks sizing down to keep expenses under control, however there is still a strong inflow of people into the valley.  We meet a lot of these people whether they are looking for long term rentals or short term housing while searching for their perfect home to purchase.  We are looking forward to a busy summer of accommodating incoming students as well as all a variety the other people that find their way into Walla Walla every year.   No matter what your reason for coming to Walla Walla, Coldwell Banker First Realtors is a full service Real Estate & Property Management office.  If you are headed this way look us up.  We manage everything from single family living to apartment life to mini storage as well as commercial.  I look forward to meeting you!  In the meantime, visit our website at www.coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com for information on all avaiable properties for sale or rent.

M. Rick Phillips


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Yellow, purple, green and white dominate the hills and yards in the Walla Walla Valley.

You sincerely see th...............................................................e beautiful colors of our Walla Walla Valley in the spring of the year. The Blue Mountains change color as the white clouds do their best to block out the sun and the rainbows pop up with the mix of a short cold rain shower and the reflection of the sun rays on the mountains.


We all feel better with warmer weather and sunshine. Little League little-leaguestarted last Saturday all over Walla Walla and Feast of Walla Walla, lit up downtown Main Street. The Balloon Stampede and the Spring Barrel Tasting are just around the corner in May. If you are looking for a great time to visit Walla Walla, April and May would be an opportunity to see it on display.


The summer musical this year is “Grease” produced and financed by the Walla Walla Community Colleshakespeare-uncorked21ge. Also, August 6th through the 10th, Walla Walla Shakespeare Uncorked is presenting, “Taming of the Shrew”, light hearted Shakespearian comedy for all to enjoy in the Fort Walla Walla outdoor theater. Great late summer entertainment for you and your families to enjoy on a trip to Walla Walla.

Real estate is on the move. Lots of activity with interest rates as low as 4.75% and at points even lower. Good inventory to choose from with good values to be found. We have seen a positive changeover in some of our single family neighborhoods. Homes changing from rentals to owner occupied bringing a positive change in the neighborhoods. You see flowers, well maintained yards, updated painting and families walking in the evenings. Everything you want a neighborhood to be surfaces when there is pride of ownership.

Look at our website and its new design: www.coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com . Let me know your opinion on ease of use and design for your research about the Walla Walla Valley. If you have any questions I would be happy assist you with. I have thirty eight years in Walla Walla real estate and am very glad to give you my advice and opinions.

Thanks for reading.

Dm Ledford

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Sales are up from last year and the energy and excitement with the sales staff is up as well. We are ahead in written business and new listings. We have the very best group of real estate professionals in the valley and that is why we dominate the real estate sales market and the property management service in the Walla Walla Valley.

Weather for little league and fishing is on the way. I love both. I coached little league for eleven years and it was one of the most special times of my life. I had the wonderful opportunity to coach my youngest son for four years and it was just special for me, but I am not sure having your dad as the head coach always felt good to him. Sometimes I know I put more pressure on him than I did for any boy on the team but he always stepped up and did the best he could. By the way, he was a great baseball player, just like his older brother and sister.

I am ready to plant my early spring garden, radishes, spinach, lettuce, and carrots. My plan was to start today, but the cold rain slows my enthusiasm. Maybe tomorrow!!!

We have still been having very consistent attendance at our open hoouses and calls and e-mail inquiries are also active. The financial piece of real estate is great. There is money to lend at fantastic rates. Underwriting is tougher than the past few years but it should be. I feel it is back to normal or at least what I had been comfortable with over my thirty six years in the profession.

Lots of changes in the employment picture for the area. Key has announced some small lay-offs within their world wide system and a reduction in salary for all remaining employees and management. The good news is most still have jobs. Lots of talk about the Washington State Penitentiary; cut back on staff and the release of hundreds of inmates in the communities in the near future. I am not sure how this makes sense, but I feel it is another ploy to scare the public and then run back with a special session to add more taxes to cover our eight billion dollar deficit.  My question, why didn’t we handle this situation earlier and not let it grow to the level it has which will put men and women out of work and inmates back on the streets. I just do not understand the process. Have any of our legislative members ever operated a business and made a plan for future expenses and income? We need to evaluate at some point how we run the business of the State of Washington. I wish it was as easy for me and my firm when income is down to just add a tax to the service and move on. I am sure a lot of small business owners feel the same.

I will be back again soon. I have been on a spring trip to sunshine for the past few weeks. I will provide new details on the Blue Mountain Mall and the new freeway to Pasco in my next blog.

Thanks for reading.

Dm Ledford

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